Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Statement on International Human Rights Day 2022

Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Statement on International Human Rights Day 2022

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 2022 International Human Rights Day under the theme “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All”.

As the world marks International Human Rights Day, which is commemorated on the 10th of December each year, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition notes with great concern the continued deterioration in Zimbabwe’s human rights situation.

It is regrettable to note that the continued closure of the democratic and civic space through persecution and the introduction of draconian laws has largely emanated from the determination of the ruling party, ZANU PF to entrench authoritarian rule and create a one-party state.

For Zimbabwe, International Human Rights Day is an opportunity to reflect on our situation and remind the Government of Zimbabwe of its obligation to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms. On this day, we reaffirm our commitment to re-energize the pushback against the closure of the democratic space in Zimbabwe.

This is a day to make a bold statement for the Government of Zimbabwe to uphold constitutionalism and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms.

In line with this year’s theme, we ask the following questions:

Can there be dignity, freedom and justice where there is judicial capture and lawfare?

Can there be dignity, freedom and justice for all where there is no access to basic social services?

Can there be freedom for all, when speaking against the excesses of the government is criminalized?

Can there be justice for all when one can be arrested and detained for simply disagreeing with the government?

Human rights form the basis of any democracy and it is sad that what is obtaining in Zimbabwe is a situation where the government continues to show signs of unwillingness to reform and return to norm compliance with democratic and developmental governance.

Using all sorts of means, including judicial capture and draconian laws, the government is moving towards ensuring that citizens will not enjoy their freedoms.

The promulgation of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill and amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act are significant steps the Government of Zimbabwe has so far taken to thwart basic freedoms and entrench authoritarian rule.

Politically motivated violence continues to escalate with the chief perpetrators being the state security agents and ZANU PF functionaries who have used all means to choke the work of opposition political parties.

Violence remains endemic and a key weapon for electoral manipulation of the citizens by the ruling ZANU PF party. The current situation obtaining in Zimbabwe points to yet another bloody.

Government has continued to show unwillingness to account for past human rights violations and has ignored recommendations by the 2018 Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry which, if implemented, will not only accord justice to the victims and their families, but also ensure the state security agents, political parties, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and other stakeholders conduct themselves in a manner that guarantees credible elections and ensures respect for fundamental freedoms.

It is unfortunate that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) continues to be partisan while the courts continue to show open bias in terms of administering justice.

On the socio-economic front, the government’s poor prioritization has left the social services sector – chiefly health, education, water and sanitation and social welfare neglected and this has resulted in the majority of Zimbabweans living in abject poverty.

Government has criminalized trade unionism by arresting and prosecuting labour leaders while workers have continued to earn poverty wages.

Erratic rainfall patterns, coupled with partisan agricultural policies, have resulted in the majority of the population being food insecure. The ruling party continues to use food aid and other forms of aid as a weapon to punish opposition party supporters.

The failure by the government of Zimbabwe to respect and work towards social justice for all has been the major hindrance to the enjoyment of dignity, freedom and justice for all.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition implores the government of Zimbabwe to fully implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights to which everyone is entitled as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or another status.

More importantly, we reiterate the need for genuine all-stakeholders dialogue as a means to unlocking the multi-faceted crisis in Zimbabwe.

In light of the above-mentioned challenges, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition shall continue with efforts aimed at mobilizing citizens to defend the democratic space while engaging in advocacy campaigns at the regional and international levels.